Pets had a bittersweet time since the pandemic

A pedestrian pets a stray dog in Kolkata on September 2, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

A few days back a young couple frenetically rang up animal welfare activists from Kaloor bus stand.

After being told to vacate the rented apartment in the city, the newly married couple from Palakkad wanted to get rid of their puppy. Eventually, after hours, they found a person in Tripunithura who agreed to keep it.

Neither all pets are fortunate to find new homes nor are all pet owners kind enough to find one. They simply abandon them to fend for themselves, a phenomenon, which has increased ever since the pandemic, says a section of animal welfare activists.

“The abandoning of pets has soared since the lockdown. In the initial months after the first lockdown in March last year, we were bombarded with inquiries about giving away the pets on adoption for fear that they could be carriers of the pandemic. During that period, we rescued all kinds of pet dogs from Pomeranian to Rottweiler from the streets,” said Ambily Purackal, coordinator and founding member of Muvattupuzha-based Daya Animal Welfare Organisation.

However, not everyone agreed that there has been a spurt in the abandonment of pets since the pandemic but instead noticed a positive fallout. “Kochi always had its share of abandonment of pets and that number has more or less remained even during the pandemic. On the positive side, there has been increased interest in adoption. Pets, especially dogs, are a responsibility for 10-15 years and the ones wanting to quit midway through should at least be kind enough not to abandon them,” said Ashwini Prem, founder of the NGO Oneness.

Ms. Purackal, however, observed the spurt in adoption sceptically. Bored by the lockdown life, people suddenly developed a love for pets and either went for adoption or started taking strays home indiscriminately. “Then during the unlock phase, people eager to return to their normal life found the newly adopted pets a liability and looked for ways to get rid of them. That strays once domesticated could hardly survive in streets made it all the more worse,” she said.

Sajeev T.K, district secretary of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, felt that the absence of a State Animal Welfare Board enabled the owners who abandoned their pets to go Scot-free.

“Though pets are supposed to have microchips, the majority don't have them making it impossible to trace and penalise the owners who abandon their pets. Illegal breeding centres also thrive in contravention of laws and the breeding animals are simply abandoned after their utility,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 12:06:28 AM |

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